Farm groups have welcomed the Agriculture Bill’s resurrection, which came as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Prime Minister’s suspension of Parliament was illegal.
In a landmark decision on September 24, all eleven justices on the Court concluded Parliament had not, in fact, been prorogued because there was no legal basis to do so.
This means the Agriculture Bill, which had fallen at the point Parliament was suspended, is still alive.
CLA deputy president Mark Bridgeman told Farmers Guardian this was ‘good news for the entire rural sector’.
“Its significance for the medium to long-term future of farming is such that we should be delighted to see it resume its legislative journey,” he said.
“We now need to focus attention on some of the amendments the CLA and the rest of the industry have been pursuing, notably around securing a long-term funding plan and ensuring environmental, animal health and welfare standards are protected against lower quality imports.”
Vicki Hird, farm campaign co-ordinator at Sustain, echoed these comments, saying lobbying would begin again to strengthen the Bill on areas such as soil health, training, and supply chain regulation.
The National Sheep Association warned the Bill needed passing to provide structure and certainty to UK farmers, especially with the prospect of a no-deal on the horizon, while the NFU’s chief Brexit adviser Gail Soutar said work on the legislation ‘remained a priority’ for the union.